Chris Christie defended Donald Trump's soul, insisting his friend of 14 years is "not a racist" despite saying any federal judge with Mexican immigrants can't by impartial on the bench. But the New Jersey governor dodged follow up questions about the controversy that is splitting the GOP.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he "absolutely disavowed" Trump's attacks on the judge overusing the Tump University lawsuits, saying they were "the textbook definition of a racist comment."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also called Trump's attacks his "worst mistake" and "inexcusable."
Trump surrogate/supporter Jeffrey Lord argues that Ryan and other "establishment Republicans" are the racist for "playing the race card" in criticizing Trump.
Here is the first part of Christie's comments:
For his part, Christie tried to play it down the middle, suggesting it was good to have a presidential candidate who didn't worry about being politically correct. "It's refreshing to have someone to speak their mind and not to be reading from a script."
The Trump attacks on the "Mexican" judge, who was born in Indiana, do not mean Trumo is a racist, Christie said. "I've known him for 14 years and Donald Trump is not a racist," and Donald Trump is not a racist and, so, the allegation that he is are absolutely contrary to every experience I've had with him over 14 years."
Pressed further on the subject, Christie told reporters "I'm not answering your questions."
Christie, who was one of the first former GOP contenders to endorse Trump, is rumored to be on Trump's short list of vice presidential possibilities. But he insisted Tuesday he's had "no conversations" with Trump about being his running mate.
This is the rest of Christie's comments Tuesday:
Christie appears to be paying a political price in his home state for his support of Trump. A new Monmouth poll gives the two-term governor a low 27% approval rate among New Jersey voters, while his disapproval rate is 63%. "It didn't mean all that much to me when it was high and it doesn't mean that much to me when it's low," Christie said.
See also: Donald Trump Surrogate Jeffrey Lord Calls Paul Ryan 'Racist' For Objecting to 'Mexican' Judge Attacks
See also: Newt Gingrich Turns On Donald Trump: Judge Attack 'Worst Mistake' & 'Inexcusable'